From the category archives:

Social Media

Welcome Sean Percival

by Ryan on April 29, 2011

Sean Percival

We’re pleased to announce that today we’ve added Sean Percival as an advisor at AudioMicro, Inc. For a little background on Sean, he’s been an integral part of some of the most successful LA internet companies including MahaloDocStoc, Tsavo & lalawag and today he’s the VP of Online Marketing for MySpace.

Sean and I re-connected recently at The Launch Conference, where we (AudioMicro)  released our new sites.  Being an extremely talented graphic designer and artist, Sean’s took a natural interest in our new content marketplaces – ChooseTattoos (tattoo designs), ImageCollect (celebrity pictures), and Cartoonsy (cartoons).  He’s been offering such valuable advice that we decided to make it official and bring him onto the team as an advisor (stock options and all).

Sean was once asked about giving advice to people starting out in the online marketing world, to which he responded…”Know two things, SEO and Photoshop.”  Having gotten to work with Sean a bit over the recent weeks, he knows SEO, Photoshop, and a heck of a lot more and we’re excited and humbled to have him assist.  Welcome to the team Sean!  We’re very grateful to have you on board and look forward to continuing to build AudioMicro with you.


A Review of the New Digg; The Tech Pundits Are Wrong

by Ryan on August 26, 2010

Digg 404 Error

Digg recently released a new version of it’s site. Users are immediately asked upon sign in to import Facebook, Twitter, and Google friends. We’ve got 25,000+ Twitter followers at AudioMicro and Digg keeps throwing a this 404 error. The site’s homepage presently can’t be accessed. I’m sure they’ll get it up and running soon, but for the time being it looks like the migration has not gone as smoothly as planned.

The tech pundits are writing about how bad the new Digg is and how it’s the end for Digg’s power users.  After spending 5 minutes on the site, I think that they are DEAD WRONG.  Digg power users will still control the site because all of their followers have been migrated over and the new default homepage for logged in users is the “My News” Feed, which the power users will certainly still control for the majority of folks on Digg, as these are the accounts with the most followers.  Therefore, when the power users Digg something, it will still show up in the feeds of a great number of Digg users to be dugg up and these stories will ultimately make their way to the “Top News” page as in the past.  The smartest move Digg made in this migration, though, was to the keep the Digg homepage, for non-logged in users, as a stream of the “Top News” stories.  Here’s why…

The power users who control Digg will digg a story and have it show in the “My News” feed all of their followers.  Once their followers Digg, the stories will begin to appear in the “Top News” stream, which is the default homepage for any non-logged in user.  The non-logged in users are the ones who visit the Digg homepage and actually click through to the articles, rather than the power users and their followers.  Most the traffic that Digg actually sends to external sites comes from casual homepage browsers who actually click on links.  Because there is little to no change for these folks (aka the “lurkers”), the redesign will not hurt Digg in any way.  The only way that Digg could have hurt itself with the redesign would have been to  change it’s homepage for non-logged in users (e.g. to something like that of Facebook – i.e. an informational welcome / parking page).  Because they didn’t go this route and kept the homepage for non-logged in users as the “Top News” tab, I think the redesign will have no negative effect on Digg.  Will the changes have a positive effect?  We’ll have to wait and see.

Posted via email from Ryan Born

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The 3 Ways to Get Traffic to Your Website

by Ryan on July 28, 2010

How to Get Traffic to your website

I’m often asked about how to get website traffic, users, and customers on the web.  It’s frequently in the context of another entrepreneur that starting a new web endeavor.  I almost always give the same response – from a high level perspective, there are only 3 ways to generate website traffic.  You shouldn’t even bother starting an internet company unless you have a reasonably good change at succeeding at one of these 3 methods.  The 3 methods are so dead simple and obvious that this blog post will likely come across as pointless to anyone in the internet space.  That being said, I’m still amazed at how often I have this conversation with folks – both with semi-seasoned internet players, VC’s, angels, and newbies. Without further adieu, here are the 3 ways to generate website traffic:

1.  Organic Search – learn how to show up in Google‘s free, organic search results.  In short, there’s really only a few things that will ever get you to appear organically – Content and Links.  If you don’t have good content, lots of content (and I mean lots), and content that’s regularly updated (i.e. fresh and new), then don’t even try it.  In addition, if you have no way to obtain a massive amount of inbound links with appropriate anchor text, then you’re better off trying methods 2 or 3 below.

2.  Paid Search / Paying for Traffic – anyone with a keyboard and a wallet can get traffic from paid search (as well as PR).  Sometimes the wallet things is what will trip you up (i.e. your not sitting on a big pile of money).  However, if you do have a bunch of cash to literally light on fire, then load up your Google Adwords and spend away.  You can literally get millions and millions of unique visitors from paid search.   It’s as easy as taking candy from a baby.  However, if you don’t have a website that sells anything other than advertising, there’s about a 99.9% chance that there’s no arbitrage opportunity in it for you and so all you’ll be doing is loading up Google coffers.  If you do actually sell a product on your website, then buy up some keywords and determine if there’s an arbitrage opportunity in it for you.  Arbitrage is the point at which the following equation has a positive outcome —>

Arbitrage Opportunity = Amount Paid Per Click Minus Average Sale Amount Minus Cost of Goods Sold.

If Arbitrage Opportunity > $1 – Proceed, Otherwise – Pause, Rethink, and / or Stop.

Start by spending $100 on Adwords and be sure you have conversion tracking in place.  If the outcome of the calculation is not positive, then stop buying clicks because all you’re really doing is lighting money on fire.

3.  Viral Traffic – if you have a product that’s extremely entertaining and viral, you can generate free website traffic, primarily from social media.  The links from social media outlets can also help with Organic SEO (item 1 above).  When I say entertaining and viral, I mean funny, scandalous, cute, or even profane.  This type of material performs really well on the web because people love to laugh.   However, if you don’t have a product that’s funny or otherwise entertaining, forget about it.  No one is going to go to your site, share your site, or talk about your site with their friends and colleagues if it’s of a boring, mundane, or otherwise un-entertaining subject matter.  There are plenty of boring websites on the web already and the last thing you need to do is build another one only to hope and pray that people visit it.  More specifically put, if your product is not something that’s funny enough to be discussed on late night television in a top 10 list, then you’re not going to get any amount of viral traffic that matters, and you should stick to items 1 and / or 2 above.

*Note: I consider word of mouth and PR subsets of viral traffic and paid traffic respectively.

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OMG – I’m a Guest on This Week in Social Media w/ @Percival TODAY June 17th @ 11am PST #TWiSM

by Ryan on June 17, 2010

Life really does go by fast.  In less than 3 years I’ve gone from a bean counting accountant to the creator of 2 companies, one of which is a ridiculous new website that shares people’s entertaining voicemails  publicly.  Since Audioo’s launch on May 24th, we’ve been getting a lot of press and attention – TechCrunch, Silicon Alley Insider, Gizmodo, Gorilla Mask, as well as a Los Angeles Business Journal cover story. Traffic is really nice right out of the gate.  I won’t give exact numbers but let’s say I think we’re really onto to something big and it could just be a matter of time before we break the next big celebrity voicemail scandal and Audio blow ups bigger than a Michael Bay film.  Audioo’s content is quite entertaining.  Who couldn’t use a good laugh these days?

In light of Audioo’s attention, I’m humbled to have been asked to appear as a guest on This Week in Social Media with host Sean Percival today, June 17th at 11am PST.  Past guests include Brian Solis (principal of FutureWorks PR, author of Engage, and all around PR maverick) and Muhamed Saleem of Digg fame.  I promise to be opinionated, direct, and maybe a little sarcastic.  Perhaps they’ll let me give a little background as to why I even joined MySpace / Facebook in the first place and why I’m still using these services today. Overall, it should be a good time.

Watch the full TWiSM episode 3 above.

This Week in Social Media

BTW – I’m NOT a social media expert in any way.  I fact I cringe every time I hear people claim they are.  The attention on Audioo is actually natural.  By doing something ridiculous (taking voicemail, which is traditionally private, and making it public), we’ve been able to cause a lot of controversy / polarization and its exactly this controversy that’s working to our advantage, enabling us to attract attention and new users of the service.

In my opinion, Audioo is not about privacy, it’s merely about entertainment.  Who doesn’t enjoy a little comedy?  However, the entertainment is not what’s getting us all the attention.  Scaring the heck out of uptight people into believing that their voicemail is not public is what’s actually getting the attention.  It’s pretty funny when you step back and look at it.  Privacy is dead.  It was dead a long time ago and I think we’re all just now getting used to it.  You really think your social security number is safe with the hundreds if not thousands of outlets that you’ve given it to over the course of your life?  I don’t think it’s safe for a minute.  So why’s it so surprising that your voicemail, email, and text messages could be publicly shared?   Really, why is that so surprising?